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THE all-new 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan recently received the 'highest possible' crash safety rating of 'Good' in all four tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States of America (U.S.A).

A press statement said, 'We are honoured that the all-new 2011 Optima has earned the IIHS 'Top Safety Pick', joining five other Kia products and underlining the brand's dedication to the highest levels of vehicle safety and quality'.

Explaining further, Michael Sprague, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, and Kia Motors America (KMA) said:   'Kia's design-led transformation has been delivering stylish new vehicles that combine outstanding performance and innovative technologies and convenience features with a long list of standard safety equipment; and the highly anticipated Optima will further increase consumer awareness and consideration of Kia to attract new customers to the brand.'

The Optima joins five Kia products previously named top Safety Picks, including the 2010 Soul urban passenger vehicle, 2010 Forte compact sedan (known as 'Cerato' in some countries), 2011 Sorento compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV), 2011 Sportage CUV and Sedona minivan (known as 'Carnival' in some countries).

The Sedona was the first Kia vehicle to receive the IIHS 'Top Safety Pick,' along with the 'Safest Minivan Ever Tested' distinction in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Ratings from the Institute are based on results from front, side and rear impact crash tests, as well as a new-for-2010 roof strength test to measure occupant protection in the event of a rollover.

The statement added that each vehicle's overall evaluation was based on various measurements specific to each crash angle and overall impact on crash test dummies inside the vehicle at the time of collision.  All vehicles must offer Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to be eligible.

The 2011 Optima comes equipped with a high level of standard safety features, as is the rest of the Kia line-up.

This includes six airbags (dual advanced front and front-seat mounted side as well as full-length side curtain), front active headrests, side impact door beams, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pre tensioners, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).  Four-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), ESC, a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) also are standard.